Wednesday, February 16, 2011

FY12 Budget Increase for ONC

The Budget request for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology is $78 million, $17 million above FY 2010. The FY 2012 budget will enable HHS to continue to implement the HITECH Act. The Budget request also includes resources for ONC to serve as the Federal Health IT leader.

In addition to funds requested for ONC for health IT, the Budget request has funding for other HHS divisions that support health IT. Funds for $2.75 million have been requested by AHRQ to advance the use of health IT to enhance patient safety plus $1.3 million is requested by the Office of Civil Rights to strengthen and enforce EHR privacy rules.

The Budget request includes $6.5 million for ONC to work with Regional Extension Centers to help others reach Stage 2 of meaningful use, to support Communities of Practice for RECs, and to help large hospitals, healthcare systems, and EHR vendors achieve meaningful use.

To continue the work on standards, the budget request includes $23 million to develop health data standards that will enable the interoperability of EHRs, and to make the standards available for both the private sector and for federal use. This funding will support standards development, testing, and implementation, as well as expand the standards and interoperability framework to enable health data to be used for public health purposes, clinical research, and quality improvements.

The budget request includes $1 million to maintain the health information exchange network capabilities, to support the “Nationwide Health Information Network” (NwHIN), and to support the expansion of health information exchange capabilities. In 2011, ONC will establish an effective governance mechanism for the NwHIN with the goal to attain a self-sustaining business model

In order to deal with privacy and security issues, the budget included $5.9 million to support federal privacy and security protections for electronic health information and to address protections for personal health information. ONC will work with partners such as the Office for Civil Rights, CMS, States, and other stakeholders to protect patients and their health information.